2016 Northern Counties
Photography courtesy of Bill Cullen & Caroline Morris, AllSports Photography. www.allsportsphotography.smugmug.com
In the penultimate regional qualifier of the 2016 season, we were treated to another packed house as almost 60 athletes of an amazing standard packed the stage on this August Bank Holiday afternoon. The results were as follows…
1 – Jack Richardson (Stoke on Trent). Much improved condition wise from his runner up spot at the USN Classic in June, Jack is one of the heaviest muscled teen competitors we have ever hosted and could be a legitimate threat at International level if he can bring in the last bit of condition required.
1 – Scott Cunningham (Livingston). A clear winner despite being some way off the condition generally required in modern contest scene, Scott was huge and full with no real discernibly weak body parts and posed well. With the UK Championships his eventual goal, Scott will be one to watch when hit hits his best shape.
2 – Ryan Boulger (Bury). In great shape and vastly improved from his debut year, Ryan was wide shouldered and hard with clear separations in all muscle groups. He was slightly thicker and fuller than third placed Finn which tipped the balance in his favour today.
3 – Finn Macnamara (Chesterfield). The hardest of the three with a lovely shape and good top to bottom balance. Finn looked well prepared and competently presented himself and thoroughly deserved his finals qualification.
1 – Chris Chapman (Sheffield). In a razors edge contest which was so close that any of the three men could have won without any real complaint, Chris came out on top by virtue of his striking shape and aesthetic edge today which was set off with superb condition, securing a deserved victory.
2 – Mark Parkes (Birmingham). Probably the heaviest muscled of the three with thick legs and torso on a more compact frame than the other men, Mark was a fraction down on the level of condition he needs to be seen at his best but certainly appeared to have made significant improvements from his last contest.
3 – Michael Boyle (Bury). The best he’d been, and desperately unlucky to have landed at the short end of such a tight contest was Mick. Rock hard with thick pecs, delts and arms and deep abdominals. With some tweaks to his presentation to help him show off his back and legs more effectively, Mick could potentially turn the tables on the other two men come the finals.
1 – Richard Walker (Aldershot). Storming to the clearest victory of the day, Richard was with all due respect to his opponents totally untouchable at this level today. Absolutely shredded with improved back and shoulder development over his last showing. Easily the best he’s ever been with his only developmental area realistically being in a little extra thickness in the arms being required, Richard sent a clear message today that he intends on having a season to remember.
2 – Danny Sloniowski (Bury). Another man vastly improved from his last contest and in the best shape he’d ever been in was last year’s USN Classic Champion Danny. Aesthetically the most pleasing of the three and carrying ample mass for his wide shouldered frame, Danny couldn’t quite match the level of density and conditioning required to match Richard today but was in his own right a top level grandmasters athlete who would have on any other day landed in the winners spot.
3 – Dave Wattam (Sheffield). In his debut season, making only his second appearance onstage was Dave who was more than prepared to face the judging panel today with a well-developed physique with particularly impressive legs and arms and good conditioning overall. He appeared to have loved every second onstage and should be proud of the package he bought to the contest.
1 – Meg Smith (Glasgow). A dominant win in a huge class for Meg, whose level of development and natural shape were perfect for the discipline. Meg’s presentation was faultless too and with a slightly leaner condition will be one of the main contenders for the UK title in October.
2 – Laura Sherry (Glasgow). Another lady with great shape and presentation. Laura was harder than Meg, but could not quite match her development and shape. Laura will too be dominant beyond this level with a little more size but needs to ensure she doesn’t get any harder in the process.
3 – Pearl Davison (Leeds). Tall and lean but not quite able to match the other two ladies today in terms of aesthetics and could have benefitted with a touch more condition and with the extra 7 weeks until the finals could easily make the improvements she needs to push the others hard.
4 – Lauren Standbridge (Bury). Steadily improving throughout the season, Lauren was significantly better than her debut in June as her conditioning has improved to the optimum level. Lauren boasts a great natural shape and needs only time and training now to develop the muscle required to reach the upper level of the class.
5 – Clare Hulme (Hyde). Just snatching the last of the placings was Clare who was perfectly conditioned and boasted a great structure. The smallest in the class both in terms of stature and development, she has scope to gain significant muscle and still remain in the optimum range for the class. When she does, she will feature prominently in future contests.
Also competed – Ruth Solly (Cobham), Helen Collins (Haworth), Rea Atkinson (Wolverhampton), Amy Reid (Edinburgh), Deisha Boyle (Bury), and Victoria Aldridge (Sheffield). Ruth, Helen, Amy and Victoria all suited the class perfectly and all pushed hard for the fifth place spot. Each needed just a touch more development and condition to possibly break into the trophies. Rea will benefit from more condition and Deisha will climb the placings as she gains more size on her tall and lean frame. This was a really deep class with every athlete bringing something to the table.
1 – Michael Sheun (Sheffield). A strong win for Michael who boasted the best package of size and condition of the class with a distinctive shape and good posing. Today’s win bought the end to a tour de force that saw Michael take three titles in as many weeks, all of which were secured in dominant fashion. There is little Michael can do for the finals other than reproduce the form he showed today.
2 – Tesfa Beckford (Birmingham). Significantly better than his showing at the Southern and determined to bag the trophy placing and finals invite that he secured today, Tesfa was full and well developed throughout the upper body with his only real developmental point being in the quads when viewed front on which will become less apparent when he dials in that last bit of condition. At this rate of improvement, don’t be surprised if Tesfa takes another leap up the ladder come the finals.
3 – Tom Atkinson (Leeds). In his first contest, Tom was hard and balanced and once the initial nerves had subsided loosened up a touch and presented himself competently. A little bit of a landslide with his tan made it a little difficult to judge him totally clearly at stages but he was deeply conditioned and well-muscled enough to bag the final qualification spot. A tidier tan and a little more stage composure at the finals will see Tom in the mix nicely.
4 – Jono Simmons (Telford). Jono came to the stage vastly improved in terms of size, shape and stage presence from last year’s USN Classic. Every aspect of his game had improved in the last 12 months and he should be proud of the job he did. Slightly down on the condition required to crack the top three today, Jono can address that easily and will wreak havoc when he returns to the stage with just a little more size on his upper body to balance out is massive legs.
5 – Charlie Brisbourne (Romford). Successfully making the switch from Physique, Charlie was heavily muscled, perfectly balance and with a wonderful “classic” shape. Still in the learning stages as far as his bodybuilding posing was concerned and in need to considerably harder condition to do damage today but a tremendous prospect with an incredible future in bodybuilding if he chooses to pursue it and do what needs to be done.
Also competed – Armani Barkatali (Manchester), David Hitchins (Blackburn), and Matt Paliga (Bracknell). Armani and David both needed more condition to make an impact today, with Matt being a polar opposite being rock hard and separated but needing more mass on his tall and wide shouldered frame to reach his full contest potential. Overall, another great class which was a pleasure to judge.
1 – Pierce Lynch (Oban). Coming out on top in yet another quality class, Pierce was ideally developed, lean and hard without being “shredded” with a very aesthetically pleasing shape. He presented himself well and bar a slightly darker tan is another man who has nothing to do for the finals except reproduce what he showed today.
2 – Devere Payne (Manchester). Heavier muscled than Pierce and on the borderline mass wise for the class, Devere was narrowly knocked from the winners spot by virtue of his comparative slight lack of balance when compared to the winner being stronger from the front than the back and slightly softer than would be absolutely ideal. A few percent tighter and this could be an interesting rematch in October.
3 – Stephen Smyth (Staffs). Another aesthetic physique in optimal condition, Stephen was adequately muscled and lean and pushed the other men hard in the comparisons. A great debut for a man who thoroughly deserved his trophy spot and finals qualification.
4 – Iain Hunter (Edinburgh). Well developed and in good condition for a debut competitor, Ian had done his homework and was good enough to see off strong challenges from several men who were gunning for the placings. With a little more fullness and development he will climb the placings and soon be qualifying for the big one.
5 – Finn Macnamara (Chesterfield). Another man on the border between physique and bodybuilding, Finn was lean and hard and nicked the last trophy spot by virtue of his sweeping taper and tiny waist.
Also competed – Thomas Watson (Sheffield), Simon Zitouni (Manchester), Lee Bushell (Bury), Daniel Glenn (Derry), and James Thomas (Gloucester). Thomas was well developed but possibly a little too thickly muscled for the class and would have had an impact in the novices with harder condition. Simon needs a little more muscle, but was unlucky to just miss out on a placing. Lee suffered the ill effects of a tan which was too thick and runny and prevented what showed signs of a well-developed and proportioned physique from being assessed properly. James returned to the stage after 10 years away unsure of which discipline he would be best suited to but it was immediately apparent that he is every bit the bodybuilder with ample muscle mass on his well-shaped frame. Finally, Daniel looked amazing with a tall, well developed and hard upper body with a beautiful natural shape and impressive arms, chest and abs. He was sadly way too developed for this class but can look forward to a great future in bodybuilding if he chooses one.
1 – Helena Winter (Manchester). A little harder and fuller than her USN Classic win, Helena took another dominant win today and stamped her claim down on the UK title with a stunning natural structure with wide shoulders, tiny waist, sweeping legs and presentation which has grown in confidence throughout the season. Helena is one of the finds of the season and isn’t done yet!
2 – Debbie Scholefield (Wakefield). A fantastic and very welcome UKDFBA debut from Debbie saw her clinch a solid runner up spot in this talent rich class. Lean, balanced and presented with the flair and precision that we have come to expect from this experienced and well-schooled athlete, Debbie was just unlucky to pick the same contest as rookie sensation Helena and on any other day would have been a worthy champion.
3 – Paula Brereton (Barrow). Just pinching the final placing by virtue of her leaner condition, Paula was well balance and had a good shape. Again, ideal for the class and with no discernible improvements required for the finals she enjoyed every second onstage.
4 – Chloe Lake (Chester). Just missing third today and with the potential to beat any athlete who shares the stage with her if she cracks the conditioning needed, Chloe is ideally developed and has a simply amazing overall shape and structure. Get that conditioning right Chloe and the World level awaits!
5 – Stephanie Davidson (Glasgow). Stephanie too would have benefitted from being slightly leaner today and eventually needs a little more width and shape to her upper body to balance out her well-built lower half. She was well presented and has great potential.
Also competed – Deisha Boyle (Bury) and Victoria Aldridge (Sheffield). Both ladies were better suited to the Bikini division at this stage of their development, but gave as good as they got in the comparisons and were both in great shape.
1 – Yvette Arthur (Huddersfield). From out of nowhere came one of the absolute best female Bodybuilders we’ve seen in years in the shape of the incredible Yvette. In her first competitive season and UKDFBA debut, this lady took the stage and owned it completely with a heavily muscled, full and hard overall package which was worthy of a Pro stage. This modest and humble athlete could barely believe she had won in this incredibly tough class, paying full respect to the top quality athletes she shared the stage with.
2 – Karen Gunson (Scunthorpe). Not giving Yvette everything her own way, Karen came to the stage considerably improved from her 2013 UK Championships showing with superior aesthetics and balance and even better condition than on that day. Karen has gone from novice to seasoned athlete in this time and is one of the finest athletes in the UK currently. She was pure class in this appearance and will no doubt be using the next few weeks to come up with the master plan required for the rematch with Yvette at the finals.
3 – Emma Grzona (Sheffield). Another lady improved from her last UKDFBA showing in 2014 with more mass evenly distributed on her already well balanced and well-shaped physique was Emma. A touch harder at the finals and Emma too could make the judges job even harder than it was today. Emma posed incredibly and rightly took home the best poser award for today’s contest with an excellent routine.
4 – Liz Mooney (Bury). Harder and fuller than her USN Classic win, Liz posed superbly and belied her relative novice status. Without the muscle required to crack the placings today at this point but with great promise when she grows with time, Liz embraced every second of her stage time and clearly cherished the experience of being in the mix of such a great class.
5 – Paula Brereton (Barrow). Competently presented and lean, Paula proved to be better suited to the Figure class where her shape and development had already earned her a finals slot.
Mens Lightweight Bodybuilding
1 – Richard Walker (Aldershot). Making it a double, but only just was the phenomenal Grandmasters champ Richard. Pushed hard by a more aesthetic runner up but clinching the winners spot by virtue of his denser and slightly harder physique, Richard was overjoyed with his second win of the night.
2 – Andrew McKenzie (Darlington). So close to snatching the victory from Richard today was a shredded, wide shouldered and pleasingly shaped Andrew. Taller, and a little lighter muscled as a result but with a structure to die for and incredible full pecs and delts.
3 – Yikai Shao (Birmingham). Possibly the athlete of the class with the best balance of muscle size and aesthetics was USN Classic Overall winner Yikai. A little down on the condition which saw him claim his victory that day and looking a little under the weather onstage, Yikai was still every bit good enough to claim his finals spot in this class where he will be well in the mix when back on top form.
Yikai proudly opened todays contest by receiving his USN Classic Overall trophy, following the disqualification earlier in the year of the previously awarded winner following a failed drug test.
4 – David Hodson (Market Drayton). Squeezed out of the top three in one of the best lightweight classes of the year so far despite his air tight conditioning and deeply separated musculature was David, who although had gained considerable size since his last outing was still outmuscled a little by the men who placed ahead of him, particularly on the back shots. David too was finals quality and was duly invited to the big stage in 7 weeks where he will have the chance to tip the balance in his favour if he can achieve a little more fullness.
5 – Mark Parkes (Birmingham). Fresh from his masters runner up spot was Mark, who held his own admirably in terms of size and shape but needed more condition to place higher in this class.
6 – Stephen Clark (Warrington). Ripped and ready, but just lacking the raw muscle mass to topple his formidable opponents was Stephen who nonetheless gave as good as he got and came away from today with valuable stage time after a battle with some of the country’s finest.
Mens Middleweight Bodybuilding
1 – Lewis Rossi (Barnsley). Tall, wide shouldered and ripped to shreds, Lewis demolished this huge class for a clear win in the eyes of the judges. From deep etched pec striations to clearly split hamstrings and calves with a prominent Christmas Tree lower back on the way, Lewis has matured admirably into an open class athlete to be revered. His huge frame could take even more muscle which no doubt he will gain over time and grow into the Heavyweight class, but for now a dominant Middleweight force he will be.
2 – Peter Garay (Shrewsbury). Heavily muscled, well balanced and with beautiful round and full muscle bellies, Peter once again had only one piece of the puzzle missing. If he finds the condition he needs (which may possibly see him dip down into the Lightweight Class) he could capture National honours without doubt. His free posing was dramatic and well executed and had him in the running for best poser. A great prospect.
3 – Steven Chidgey (Manchester). Vastly improved from his 2015 Novice UK showing, Steven was bigger, fuller and in even better condition than the rock hard package that won him runner up spot on that occasion. A great tan and confident presentation topped off his display today and rightfully earned him the bronze medal position.
4 – Tesfa Beckford (Birmingham). Novice runner up Tesfa stood his ground admirably here and showed a clear indication that he would challenge at open level in seasons to come.
5 – Michael Boyle (Bury). Mick took the final top 5 slot with the rock hard and rugged physique that annexed his finals spot in the masters earlier.
Also competed – James Thomas (Gloucester), Bhavesh Varsani (Sale), Dean Nolan (Flint), Danny Sloniowski (Bury), Charlie Brisbourne (Romford), and Matt Paliga (Bracknell). James narrowly missed the top 5 with a package that was close to his previous best, clearly in his element in his preferred discipline and posing with heart and precision in his fantastic routine. Bhavesh and dean both had the tools to place higher in the class but needed to harden up somewhat to get there today. Danny, Charlie and Matt all challenged hard and made this class possibly the toughest of the day.
Mens Heavyweight Bodybuilding
1 – Daniel Mucha (Leeds). In a titanic battle between two absolute beasts of Heavyweights, Daniel pinched the top slot with his slightly superior overall balance and shape. Thickly muscled with wide sweeping quads and a deep, deep upper body, this former international level amateur Wrestler was incredible for a man in his first season of competition and clearly a gifted and talented athlete all round. With dialled in condition, he could wreak havoc at the finals and beyond.
2 – Nick Adams (Sheffield). Harder than Daniel and possibly a little unlucky to land in runner up spot today, Nick boasted thick muscle on all points of the compass and too will challenge hard at the finals.
3 – Scott Cunningham (Livingston). Junior winner spot sneaked into the final medal position by virtue of his huge and full musculature which when finished off with his peak condition and a resulting drop down to middleweight could have seen him challenge hard in that class too.
4 – Noel Rye (Glenrothes). Probably the best he’s been so far, with ample size and condition which he posed well, Noel was content with securing his finals invitation knowing that his best was yet to come and when it does, he too will be in the mix at top level.
Mens Bodybuilding Overall
As the class winners lined up, todays standouts were Richard, Lewis and Daniel in what would be a battle of three totally contrasting physiques. All three men took votes for the win from the panel, with Lewis’ width and aesthetic appeal and Richard’s rugged and shredded but more compact physique eventually not being quite enough to topple the mass monster who was Daniel, who proved to have just a little too much in the eyes of the majority of the judges today to be denied. A worthy overall champion who is taking the circuit by storm in his rookie year and will be one to watch at the finals.
And with that, the final curtain fell on our fourth contest of the season. With another exceptional crop of athletes qualified for what is shaping up to be a finals not to be missed, the 2016 season becomes even more interesting. Thank you as always to USN, Wear2Gym and The Gym Chef for their support as well as our ever growing army of officials and supporters. See you in Leamington! Lee Kemp